We are absolutely delighted to introduce you to The Shibaguyz, Shannon & Jason Mullett-Bowlsby. These two men are truly remarkable and are set to take this quilty industry by storm. With professional roots in the fiber arts, they’ve been mainstays in that world for years, traveling around sharing their mad crochet and knit apparel skills with dedicated students and fans. They are regulars at shows like STITCHES and Sew Expo, selling out classes and packing booths every time.
We’re thrilled that they discovered and soon became obsessed with the practice of Sashiko & Boro stitching. They started small and grew and grew and grew… and here we are — announcing their debut Aurifil Thread Collection, something that adds to their Ambassador status with companies like Daylight, Clover, and most recently, Bernina.
The collection is FAB Sashiko Essentials, quite simply because it is fabulous and it includes 6 LG spools of Shannon & Jason’s absolute go-to colors when working on new projects. They’ll be using these threads in classes and demos, and all sorts of other exciting still hush-hush things scheduled for this year.
If this is your first time hearing of these fine fellows, take notice. You’ll be hearing a lot more about them from here on out! We’re honored that we get to be part of the team to offer an introduction. <3
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
FAB Sashiko Essentials
100% Aurifil 12wt Cotton, 6 Large Spools (356yd/spool)
2024 – 2740 – 2265 – 1240 – 1147 – 4657
ALL ABOUT THE SHIBAGUYZ
Tell us a bit about yourselves and the origin of the Shibaguyz.
The origin story of the Shibaguyz… well, it’s certainly not as interesting as Spiderman or the Hulk, but we love our little family. The name Shibaguyz comes from our three Shiba Inu. We take them everywhere with us. Like, everywhere. The first time we were out and about at a farmer’s market without them, someone yelled “Hey, aren’t you the guys with the Shibas?” To which we responded “Yup! We’re the Shibaguyz.” And it stuck. We are totally fine with being associated with these three faces.
When folks ask how we ended up with three, Jason always quickly responds “Because I wouldn’t let him have four.” It’s true…
How did you get started in the world of design?
We both come from a long line of sewists and quilters. Shannon’s grandmother and great aunts were always in the middle of a quilt and made clothes for themselves and the family. Jason’s mother made all the family’s clothes and was a costume designer for the theatre. We’ve been practicing hand crafts since we both were old enough to hold fabric and needles. We got into crochet and knit designs because Shannon was making hats and socks once when Jason’s parents were out for a visit. Jason’s mom, Kay, looked at what Shannon was making and said “Boy, I’d buy that.” Pivotal moment. We have worked on eleven books of crochet and knit designs and in the past couple of years have come back to our quilting, hand sewing, and cut-and-sew garment roots.
What drives you to create and what within that brings you the most joy?
Life in general is our creative inspiration. From tree bark we see in the woods on walks with the Shibakidz to the architecture and colors of our city and fashion styles of the different people we see every day… we see everything as a springboard for creative inspiration and that is what drives us to create new things. Sometimes those things we create don’t amount to much more than just us making a thing that brings us joy. But sometimes those things turn into something later on that become a bigger concept that develops into a whole new enterprise for us. Dang… this is a tough question to answer in a short interview!
You both work within a wide range of mediums… how does one inform the next and do you have a favorite?
The thing about us is that we don’t limit ourselves to working within the boundaries of one medium. Yes, one or both of us can become obsessed with one medium more so than the others, but we are always open to using techniques and skills from another creative discipline to expand on our work. It wasn’t always like that. We thought we needed to stick to one or two and really home in on that audience in order to make our brand work. But that’s just not how it works for us though… not in any way that makes us happy to get up every day. The minute we decided to just not try to fit into any one creative world, we started loving what we did even more fully and started creating things that even startled us.
And, no, we don’t have a favorite. Right now, we have a lot to say in the world of sewing. Specifically, we have been researching sashiko and boro pieces in the collection of the Seattle Art Museum. So that’s our current obsession and what we have the most to say about right now. For now.
You’re out there teaching your techniques throughout the year… what do you find most fulfilling about passing along your craft?
We love seeing folks pick up “stuff” in front of them on a table and make things. Their faces light up, they get excited, and they end up creating something unique and beautiful. With regards to passing along our craft, that’s the part of our craft that we like the most. That spark of creativity where everything and anything is possible and a new joy is created. That’s pretty exciting for us.
What first drew you to working with Aurifil threads?
Aurifil? WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE?!?! The color selection is AH-MAY-ZING, the thread is smooth, tangles less, and is so easy to use. This is the product we’ve been looking for, well, for years. Specifically, we found Aurifil when we started working on sashiko and boro. The cotton 12 wt was the perfect option for this type of stitching and didn’t require stopping every half a row to untangle a nasty snarl (y’all know what we’re talking about). Once we picked it up and used it, we were sold. Then, of course, we started using the finer weights for our hand sewing and garment making… one thing led to another… now we are BERNINA ambassadors and we love how beautifully Aurifil threads work in our sewing and overlock machines. And the monofilament thread for applique! You get the picture. Aurifil really is the most versatile thread we have come across and it is able to keep up with our creative whims. So it’s a done deal for us.
This collection is focused on the 12wt, for Sashiko and Boro, but we’re aware you work with a wide range of weights depending on what you’re creating. Do you have a favorite and why?
Like we said before, we don’t have favorites. Just current obsessions. And, thankfully, Aurifil can keep up with however the creative winds are blowing around here on any given day. Yes, we are currently working on a lot of sashiko and boro. We have been fortunate to have access to the archives of the Seattle Art Museum to study their pristine boro and sashiko collection and that is informing a lot of our creative work right now. We teach a lot of boro and sashiko classes so the current research and resulting projects and class work just made the cotton 12 wt a natural choice for this first collection.
Tell us about the colors you selected for this collection. What do they mean to you within the practice of Sashiko stitching?
These colors were hard to choose! Anyone who has seen any of our crochet and knitting books knows we are not afraid of color. We knew from the beginning we were going to need to have ALL the colors in any collection with our name on it… so we spent a few days (months) painstakingly going through all the color choices and finally decided on the 6 in our collection. In the end, these were the six colors that we reach for most when we are doing our sashiko and boro work. They represent the perfect base of colors to start with. You should certainly build on these six to suit your own creative whims, but this is where we recommend starting. Even with all of the colors we have available to us as Aurifil designers, we still reach primarily for these six.
Tell us about your current projects and what’s in store for the Shibaguyz this year…
We’re working on a new book this year, it’s pretty hush hush at the moment, but you can be sure that Aurifil thread is going to be ALL OVER IT.
Do you have a current favorite technique?
We’re really into hand stitching at the moment… Sashiko and Boro are kind of an obsession. Of course, we just became Bernina ambassadors this year so we’re also sewing and quilting on the machine. Then there is embroidery and… wait, what was the question?
HUGE thanks to the Shibaguyz for their sharing a bit of their world with us!! <3
To enter-to-win the FAB Sashiko Essentials Thread Collection by The Shibaguyz for Aurifil, click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page. You do not have to complete all the options to be entered but the more options you choose, the more entries you have! Entries will be accepted from now through 11:59pm Eastern Time on Sunday, March 3! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Monday, March 4. Good luck!
Shannon and Jason Mullett-Bowlsby are the dynamic DIY duo known as the Shibaguyz, and the creative geniuses behind Shibaguyz Designz Studio. Their award-winning crochet & knit designs have been featured in and on the covers of 15 magazines and appeared in articles in industry magazines in the US and abroad. Their craft, portrait, and fashion photography has appeared in six books and numerous magazines around the globe and the duo have released over 300 patterns since their first cover design in 2010. They have published 11 books of crochet and knitwear patterns with their newest book, Complete Crochet Course – the Ultimate Reference Guide just released in March of 2018 from Sterling/Lark Publishing.
*Images courtesy of The Shibaguyz